App stores are the new black, and now LG (SEO: 066570) is jumping into the fray more broadly, after releasing some plans for its home country of South Korea last month. The handset maker will focus on Asia at first, with the store launching Tuesday, and will roll out globally by the year end, it said. Previously, both LG and its South Korean compatriot Samsung have been reluctant to open their own app stores for fear of ticking off carrier partners, but as the two lag in the smartphone category, this is one of their plans to play catch-up with others. LG plans to release 80 mobile phone models around the world this year, of which 12 will be smartphones.
The new “LG Application Store” will provide 1,400 applications including 100 free programs, available in 15 languages, and is now open in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. It will reach Europe and the South America by the end of this year, with the number of apps to be offered to increase to more than 2,000 by then, LG said, reports Reuters. It has no plans to launch the store in U.S., not an LG stronghold anyway. Samsung has an app store in beta, available only in the UK.